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Color Your Plate Heart-Healthy 

Heart health is not just about limiting saturated and trans fats or sodium. It is just as much about what healthy things you can add to your diet. Adding fruits and veggies to your diet is a great way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals. However, getting a variety of fruits and vegetables is just as important as eating them in the first place. There are 5 different color groups of produce that all offer their own benefits. It is important to consume a variety of colors every day in order to receive all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients, prevent heart disease, and  other chronic diseases. Simply put, eating in color ties back to our overall health! Let’s dive into the color wheel. 

Blue & Purple 

One category of produce is the blue and purple group. The compound that causes some fruits and vegetables to be this color is called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins have many health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits. They also possess , anti-microbial, and anti-obesity effects, as well as prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) [1]. Examples of blue and purple produce include blackberries, blueberries, eggplants, plums, grapes, and raisins.  

Red & Pink 

Another type of produce is the red and pink group. Anthocyanins or carotenoids, a different plant chemical, can cause produce to be red or pink. Carotenoids also have antioxidant properties and can help protect against chronic conditions. Beta carotene, the inactive form of vitamin A, is considered a carotenoid along with lutein and lycopene. Carotenoids can improve your eye health, cardiovascular health and protect you from cancer [2]. Examples of red and pink produce include watermelons, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, eggs, cherries, red apples, red peppers, and red potatoes. 

Orange & Yellow 

A third kind of produce is the orange and yellow group. Carotenoids can also give an orange and yellow color to produce.  Orange foods are gull of vitamin C, an antioxidant, which can support your immune system and help rebuild collagen in the skin. They also contain beta carotene, which supports skin health and is also an antioxidant.  Examples of orange and yellow produce include carrots, cantaloupe, lemons, mangoes, yams, yellow peppers, orange peppers, sweet potatoes, and tangerines.  


Another category of produce is the green group. The chemical that makes plants green is called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties [3]. Some of the leafy greens, such as spinach or kale with also provide vitamins K and A.  One cup of cooked broccoli can also provide vitamins K and C plus folate and fiber. Other examples of green produce include limes, kiwis, green apples, green grapes, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, celery and brussels sprouts.  


Finally, the last category of produce is the white group. The compound that makes some produce white is called anthoxanthin. Anthoxanthins are in the same family as anthocyanins, so they have the same benefits for the human body. White foods such as garlic and onions contain the compound quercetin which may help protect against certain cancers. Other examples of white produce include potatoes, cauliflower, artichokes, onions, and garlic. Don’t forget turnips count too!  Try thinly slicing the turnips and baking them like a potato chip for a delicious way to add some white produce to your plate.  



The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied on as medical advice. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, evaluation, or treatment of a qualified health-care provider. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, or if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You should consult a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate. If you have or suspect you may have allergies or medical issues which may be affected by certain foods, find you may have or be experiencing side effects, you should promptly contact your health care provider. Statements within this article have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.<br />